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Mark Chisholm, Mechanic at Halfords’ Autocentre, Wins The American Express Frontline Hero Store Colleague Award

Mark Chisholm from Coatbridge in Scotland was rewarded for his tireless dedication to his job and his selflessness in fixing vehicles when key workers needed them most during the pandemic. He was presented with The American Express Frontline Hero Store Colleague award at the 26th annual Retail Week Awards event sponsored by Salesforce, which took place at a glittering ceremony at Evolution London on Wednesday 6th October.
In a new category at the awards this year, The American Express Frontline Hero Store Colleague award recognised the outstanding hard work and dedication shown by the store colleagues working in stores across the UK retail sector throughout the past 18 months.
The category was hotly contested with committed colleagues from Tesco, Waitrose, Morrisons, TheCo-op and Asda competing with store workers at Joules, BT Group and Poundland stores for the coveted prize. Pillars of the community at such a vital time, these essential keyworkers battled an unprecedented number of challenges during COVID. From policing the introduction of masks in stores, to ensuring customers adhered to self-distancing regulations, handling staff shortages, customer’s panic buying, stockpiling and changes to delivery laws and opening hours – store colleagues were critical to the nation and remained resilient at the coalface during the pandemic.
As a mechanic at McConechy’s Tyre Service owned by Halfords, Mark was chosen by the Retail Week Award judges due to his admirable professionalism and tireless dedication to his role. During the first national lockdown car mechanics were among the few groups in the UK that were allowed to continue working to ensure key workers could continue using their cars safely. Ever the optimist, he is described by his colleagues as, “being cheery, reliable and always up for fun even when times are tough.”
Mark demonstrated his unfaltering work ethic when he answered a late-night call from AAH Pharmaceuticals; several of its vans, carrying critical medicine for patients, had their tyres slashed and were left stranded. On his own, he immediately drove the 50 miles to Edinburgh to make sure the medicine could be transported to the correct locations by dawn. Fitting 13 tyres is usually a time-intensive team job, but Mark happily did this on his own in record time. Mark not only carried out an essential service at a time when most of society was shut down, but he also overcame his own battle. Just shortly before the incident he had returned to work after having contracted COVID and been in isolation.
The judges commented:
“Mark’s deed is a perfect example of the incredible efforts made by so many workers across the country during lockdown and highlights how he helped keep key workers moving to help save lives under incredibly difficult circumstances.”
Hanna Jackson, Retail Week Managing Director, commented: “The American Express Frontline Hero – Store Colleague Award is a really important award this year as it shines a hugely deserving spotlight on some of the incredible work done across the retail industry throughout the most challenging time for the sector. It is fantastic that Mark is getting the recognition he truly deserves.”
The Retail Week Awards 2021, whose headline sponsor is Salesforce, is a symbol of excellence in the retail sector, providing a platform for industry-wide recognition and a celebration of outstanding work.